Thursday, June 15, 2006

Doctor Appointment Update

Okay, so before I tell you what happened at our doctor's appointment today, I wanted you to check out the update on the right side of this page. If you noticed, I added an introductory "page" that actually explains who John and I are. It may bore you if you already know us, but there's a fun picture on there from the first year we started dating! Please go visit it, just so that I feel I didn't waste my time.

Okay, (and yes I know I just started two paragraphs with the word "okay"), here is quick recap about the appointment.

John and I met up in front of the Mayo buildings around 2:00 to walk over for our 2:15 appointment. John had slept less than 2 hours that night and was really operating on fumes. Keep this in mind when I tell you that we didn't get in for our appointment until 3:15, and you can understand why he was having trouble in the waiting room. At one point he told me that the carpet looked inviting. He also told me that the green in my shirt brought out the green in my hair. He said that he was joking, but I am wondering if that was him or fatigue talking. Another time I said that he should remind me how much better I feel now than when we first got the negative result so that I have the courage to try again. He said I could write myself a note. I was like, "So you'd rather I read a note than you tell me," and he started laughing saying that wasn't what he meant but he wasn't sure right now how to articulate it any clearer. I think being with someone with little sleep is quite entertaining.

Anyways, at 3:15 Dr. C came in. I have said this before but Dr. C really reminds me a lot of JB's dad. He talks very softly and patiently and is just so caring and kind. The moment he walked in, he said he wanted to give me a hug, and of course, this got me all teary. Actually, I think going anywhere near the office makes me teary. John was teary too but only because he wanted to go to sleep. :)

To quickly summarize:

After much confusion, and John going from fertile to infertile to back to fertile again, we apparently do have some sort of "sperm binding issue". This was probably the reason that we did not get as many embryos as we hoped in the harvesting.

"Sperm Binding issue". What does this mean? Well, nothing if we are doing IVF. If they had known about it before our harvesting (which they couldn't have), they would have suggested we attempted to fertilize more eggs than we did. If we end up doing another harvest in the future, we will use ICSI on all mature eggs. This, as I have mentioned before is a procedure where, instead of throwing all the sperm and eggs into one dish to mix together, they specifically pick one sperm and one egg and "force" them together. I'm not sure this isn't exactly how it works, but it is the only way I know how to explain it.

Now this sperm binding issue is a factor in why, even when I HAVE ovulated, we have not gotten pregnant either when we have tried on our own or when we did IUI procedures. It also means that our odds of ever conceiving on our own, are even lower than we originally thought (in man's eyes -- not God's). I have decided not to spend much time thinking about this. We are doing IVF now. I have always prayed that somehow, we could miraculously get pregnant on our own, someday. This is still a possibility although the odds are decreased even more.

The only good thing: I can no longer blame myself for our infertility issues or tell John, when I get upset, to go find a fertile wife. My perfect husband must now share some of the blame. However, technically, we aren't sure if this is his sperm's fault for not liking my eggs or my eggs fault for not liking his sperm. Alas, it could still be my fault. Oh well.

Secondly, as we had assumed prior to the appointment, Dr. C does not want to use all three embryos in our FET (frozen embryo transfer). What we will do is dethaw two of our embryos. If, one of them dies very quickly, they may have time to dethaw the remaining embryo. However, if the embryo dies too close to the time of the transfer and there is no time to dethaw the other, we will just transfer one.

Another exciting thing that we learned was that Dr. C will allow us to do another fresh before using our remaining one embryo. For instance, if this next FET fails in September, he will allow us to keep our one embryo frozen and instead do another fresh harvest. This is good for a number of reasons. The first reason is that if we do another fresh prior to January 5, we do not have to re-do all of our tests (which will save a lot of time and money). These tests we did are good for one year. Also, if we end up with an odd number of embryos, we can combine our new extra embryo with our one remaining frozen embryo.

Lastly, Dr. C was very hopeful. I asked him at what point he would advise us to stop trying. He said that we had 21 embryos retrieved and 19 mature eggs. He said this is an incredible result. He said that our embryos are very high quality. He said that as long as things were as they are now, he wouldn't advise us to stop trying. We have good "stuff" and just unfortunately, fell on the lowsy side of the statistics.

After Dr. C left (along with a woman from India who was shadowing him to learn about IVF and bring her knowledge back to India where she worked as a doctor), my nurse, Ruthie, came in and we set a date in September to do the procedure. She told me that they had seen enough of me in this office and that I needed to disappear for awhile, at least nine months. "You can only come back with a child to show us," she said. I totally agreed.

Right now, I am feeling very good and feeling like I can do this a thousand times. The problem is, the month/s surrounding this are extremely "yuck". After Dr. C left, I started crying again, just frustrated that I can't take my "hopeful" feelings into the months surrounding the procedure/s. Please pray that I can feel this hopeful and encouraged and upbeat even while sitting on my couch waiting for a phone call to tell us if it worked or not!

The other big thing you can pray for is my headaches. Dr. C offered some ideas for different things we can try to avoid them next time, however, we want to avoid changing anything too much because things went so perfectly last time. We had 21 eggs. If that means 3 months of migraines to get the same awesome result, I will suck it up.

We leave for Mt. Rushmore tomorrow morning. I will post before we leave and maybe have a guest poster while we are gone. I can't wait for this honeymoon vacation. It is much needed.

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